- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 18, 2000

Times opinion piece, editorial called spiteful, insightful

Is Wesley Pruden applying for a position at Bob Jones University? If so, his column, "The risky business of making an apology" (Pruden on Politics, March 14), would provide a nice writing sample for his resume.

In the span of a few hundred words, Mr. Pruden manages to condescendingly comment on the Roman Catholic clergy's sacred vestments, mock the priestly calling of the "villain[ous]" St. Bernard of Cluny, and cite the usual perceived "sins" of the Crusades and the Inquisition. It is a wonder that the old "whore of Babylon" accusation wasn't mentioned as well.

Most egregious of Mr. Pruden's many spiteful fallacies, however, was his willingness to perpetuate the politically correct claim that the Catholic Church in general, and the "severe, humorless" Pope Pius XII in particular, was somehow complicit in the deaths of millions of Jews during World War II.

Just to set the record straight, the pope and the Catholic Church with no military divisions, mind you saved hundreds of thousands of Jews during World War II.

But why take my word for it? Golda Meir, Albert Einstein, Rabbi Issac Herzog of Jerusalem, Rabbi Emilio Zolli of Rome, the World Jewish Congress and many other Jewish leaders and historians are all on record as praising Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church for doing as much.

What began as a good idea for a column, i.e. against apologizing for long-ago events over which the present penitent had absolutely no control, unfortunately degenerated into a type of Catholic-bashing better suited for a "know-nothing" than the editor in chief of America's most conservative newspaper. Maybe Mr. Pruden could apologize for his offensive remarks. But then, I guess he would have to think that he wrote something wrong first.

DAVID M. HICKEY

Alexandria

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Wesley Pruden's column on Pope John Paul II's personal apology was typical of modernist thought that unfortunately permeates the post-Vatican II church. To interpret, as Mr. Pruden did, what the pope was apologizing for to include the Crusades and the Inquisition is a sloppy and careless action. The pope did not cite these by name, but "no one could miss his meaning," Mr. Pruden writes.

Whatever the current pope's personal opinions are on issues such as the Crusades, the Inquisition and the death penalty, a Roman Catholic must not confuse them with the official teaching of the church. The Crusades and the Inquisition were important parts of the church's history before modern Catholics and their beliefs of universalism and indifferentism found their way into chanceries during the past 40 years.

After calling St. Bernard of Cluny a "villain," Mr. Pruden proceeds to take an extremely leftist position and blames the church for "unwitting Catholic complicity in the Holocaust." Never mind the 3 million Catholic Poles killed during World War II.

Mr. Pruden claims the beatified Pope Pius XII "never reflected the grace and joyousness of the Gospel of Christ in the way that John Paul II does." This must not be based on the fact that Pope Pius XII saved countless souls, rather than making excuses and apologies for his church. His reign produced record numbers of priests, brothers, nuns and religious, and shaped society right down to what movie content came out of Hollywood. His love and respect for the traditional Latin Mass and other sacraments and his zeal and leadership are what made him a model Catholic.

Pope Pius XII had plenty of "grace and joyousness," but he expressed it through traditional Catholic practices rather than through modern, pointless shenanigans.

KENNETH J. WOLFE

Alexandria

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Thank you for the excellent editorial on Pope John Paul II's recent apology for the sins of the Roman Catholic Church in history ("Repentance or apology?" Editorial, March 16). It is crucial to realize the sins were committed by people across the spectrum of the Catholic faith.

That you could draw such a deft parallel between the smarmy antics of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Clinton in their politically motivated pseudo-apologies, and the heartfelt and sincere prayer for forgiveness uttered by the Holy Father, is testament to your understanding of a difficult situation that seems to have slipped past the politically correct New York Times.

Bravo to you, and keep up the great work at The Washington Times.

PAUL NOWAK

Denver

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My thanks to The Washington Times for your editorial taking the time to examine and understand the pope's actions in begging forgiveness from God on behalf of all Catholics, lay and clergy, and further, explaining it clearly to all readers.

I am a lifelong Southern Baptist, but I have always been an ardent admirer of Pope John Paul II and his steadfast insistence on adherence to the tenets of the Roman Catholic faith. His unblinking contemplation of the conduct of the Catholic Church bespeaks a commitment to know the truth and have it set his church and its children free.

JACK BOGUSCH

Rio Rancho, N.M.

Nothing funny about cartoon's portrayal of men

Nothing funny about cartoon's portrayal of men

First and foremost, I want to make it clear that I regard The Washington Times as a friend to men everywhere. To my knowledge, yours is the only newspaper in America that a man can read without being insulted at every turn of the page. Better yet, The Washington Times gives me more of what I read a newspaper for by routinely breaking stories that only later become news at other sources. My high regard for The Times makes it all the more unpleasant, then, to complain when you cross over the line into feminist nonsense, as you did with your editorial-page cartoon of March 11.

Those of us who cruise the Internet know you have many cartoons available to you when your own cartoonist is unavailable. We know, then, that when you print a cartoon like that of March 11, you do so as a matter of choice. Do you really think men are fat, lazy jerks who lounge about the house while an overextended wife and mother does it all? If you really think that, perhaps you would care to explain why the poll that was the subject of the cartoon says women, not men, are so happy with their lives? While you are at it, explain why American men are four times more likely to take their own lives even as women are telling us they are happy with theirs?

There is no need to explain; we men already know. Thanks to sexist attitudes such as the ones depicted in that cartoon, a huge proportion of American men are without a home. Even those fast disappearing men like myself who are fortunate enough to live in the same house with their families understand that the law regards us as the legal guests of our wives and nothing more. Not only can our wives kick us out of the house on a whim, they can hold our children hostage for legally enforced ransom.

As for the moronic implication that men are lazy bums who don't help around the house, I dare the man who drew this cartoon to start rearranging the furniture in his house. I dare say he will soon find out just whose home it is.

In closing, I repeat my sincere belief that The Washington Times is a good friend to men everywhere. As with all good friends, we quickly forgive and forget. We do sometimes wish, however, that our friend would be a little more careful.

WOODROW F. DICK JR.

Springfield

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Your March 11 editorial-page cartoon depicted a frazzled mother juggling a cooking pot, a telephone and two shrieking children while hubby lounged comfortably in his overstuffed armchair. The message comes through loud and clear: Men just don't "get it" when it comes to helping around the home.

The problem is, men do "get it." Men work, on the average, six hours a week more than women who are employed full time. Men are more likely than women to work a second job. Plus, men do pitch in around the house, but their contributions often go unrecognized because it is not always considered to be "housework." Examples include fixing the car, unplugging the toilet and coaching junior's soccer team. As Warren Farrell reveals in his book "Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say," studies show that men, not women are the ones who have less leisure time.

This cartoon is not only inaccurate, it also is unfair to your readers. Wives feel imposed upon and victimized. Husbands feel unfairly maligned.

We need to stop disseminating myths that have the effect of weakening one of the most fundamental units of society, the bond between a man and a woman.

EDWARD E. BARTLETT

Derwood

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